We had visited Menorca and its capital city Mahon a few times before we realised that the city's cathedral held lunchtime organ recitals during the summer months.
The Church of Santa Maria in Mahon, Menorca, has a prime position. It is close to the traditional fish market and the indoor market now housed in a former convent and other fine buildings. A cafe offering panoramic views over Mahon harbour is a great place to take in a snack, coffee or beer as you watch the world go by.
During the tourist season the Church of Santa Maria holds daily organ recitals (except Sunday).
In 2014 the recitals cost 5 Euros per person, began at 1pm and lasted around 40 minutes.
We popped in to one session when the midday sun and toasting temperatures became too much. The calm cool atmosphere of the church was perfect. The organ recital soon broke the peace though, albeit in a tuneful way.
The huge organ sits high above the congregation. It was impossible to see the musician responsible until the recital ended. He spoke in Spanish but whether you know the classical pieces he plays or not it will be a stunning performance.
Here is some information about the church via Menorca Live: "Built in the 18th century on the site of a 13th century gothic church this impressive building creates one of Mahon’s chief landmarks.
The interior is of neogothic style but of great note is the monumental organ that has great instrumental and artistic quality. It was commissioned in 1806 by the rector Gabriel Alenyar from the masters Franciso Otter and Joan Kiburz who lived in Barcelona.
It took three years to make and when it was ready there were problems with its transportation not only due to the fact that the Napoleonic war was on but also due to its immense size. It has four keyboards, 3006 organ pipes – 197 of which are wooden and the rest are metal. Eventually it was inaugurated in 1810 and its artistic ornamentation was carried out by the Menorcan sculptor Francesc Comas."
An interesting place to visit but the organ recital is the icing on the cake.
Its central location means it is easy to visit when you are in Mahon.
In June 2014 when we visited the church bells went into overdrive to celebrate a new King of Spain.
Church from 07.30 to 12.00 and from 18.00 – 20.30
Office from 18.00 to 19.00
Menorca is one of the Spanish Balearic Islands, situated in the Mediterranean sea.
It is less brash, noisy or large than its close neighbour Majorca and is a beautiful Island. Having fallen in love with Menorca in 2010, we returned for another vacation in September 2011 and again and again. Our next visit is scheduled for May 2017.
One of the largest towns on Menorca is Mahon the Island's capital so I will enjoy a virtual visit with you, until I can walk its streets again.
Menorca was once home to the British military. As a Menorcan resident said to us "we do not mind you visiting these days, as long as you go home at the end of your vacation". That said many UK tourists eventually move to Menorca, as its climate is kind and its pace of life relaxing.
At the opposite end of the Island, to Mahon, is Ciutadella. This was once the island's capital and has much to offer the visitor.
These days though Mahon is the capital of Menorca. The British invasion of bygone years meant that Mahon's deep waters warranted a change of capital. Mahon is the deepest natural harbour in the world.
These days it is just the cruise ships and ferries that benefit from the deep waters. However, tourist boats offer trips around the harbour and beyond. The waters of Mahon contain many interesting sites such as:
Mahon is a great place to explore. Its narrow streets have the charm of a bygone time.
The people are warm and friendly and you will feel at ease be it day or night. It is hilly in parts so if you have mobility issues plan your visit well.
On a Saturday night the local people mingle with tourists as they enjoy the end of their working week. The cafes, bars and restaurants offer something for everyone.
We visited Menorca first in October 2010, a little before the end of the tourist season. Menorca closes its doors to visitors on the last day of October. Until May the next year the only flights available are not direct.
Take a flight to Barcelona and a boat trip to visit Menorca.
Mahon has an interesting fish market and a traditional market held in what used to be a monastery, spectacular views over the Bay of Mahon, shops, museums, a small gin factory and so much more.
Mahon Fact: Mayonnaise may have been invented by Duke de Richelieu in France, in 1756 but it was first conceived, created or what you will in Menorca. According to many sources, during the siege of Mahon, there was a shortage of food supplies. The chef decided to whip eggs and oil together, without adding any seasoning. This dressing was then served at a dinner party hosted by Duke de Richelieu. Mayonnaise was named after a battle against the British which was fought and won in Mahon. The name Mayonnaise was therefore from the word Mahon.
The currency at time of writing is the Euro.
The airport is on the suburbs of Mahon.
A bus station located in Mahon offers transport around the island and runs a service to the airport. The times and places visited vary according to the time of year.
Most visiotrs hire a car for ease of getting around the Island.
You can hire bicycles also.
As you will have realised by now I loved Mahon and so did my Hubby. Now this is saying something, as he does not usually like capital cities. I have added a few of my photographs taken in and around Mahon, but not too many.
To enjoy your first visit you really need to still have lots to discover.
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!